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Tuesday, 16 July, 2002, 07:16 GMT 08:16 UK
World Bank targets Africa's conflict zones
Kigali street scene
Rwanda's economy needs to be rebuilt
The head of the World Bank, James Wolfensohn, is touring Africa in order to build relationships with countries emerging from conflict.

Mr Wolfensohn visited Rwanda for the first time on Monday, following on from a landmark trip to the democratic republic of Congo at the weekend.

James Wolfensohn, World Bank President
Mr Wolfensohn is touring the region
Following talks with President Paul Kagame, Mr Wolfensohn praised the "exceptional" progress the small central African nation had made since the 1994 genocide.

"I'm going away feeling that every support we can give to president Kagame, the government and civil society is money and ressources that we should put in," he said.

Mr Wolfensohn is now on his way to Tanzania to meet finance ministers from nine African countries emerging from conflict.

Debt relief hopes

Mr Wolfensohn has already held up the democratic republic of Congo as an example of a country that has implemented sound economic policies despite civil war.

"What the government has done here is extraordinary, they have created a base with a stable currency and budget," he said.

As a result, Mr Wolfensohn has recommended that the World Bank wipe out 80% of Congo's $12bn debt mountain early next year.

"We want to establish a clean slate for the country," he said.

Civil-war broke out in Congo four years ago, and the United Nations is still struggling to broker a peace agreement.

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 ON THIS STORY
Teddy Seezi-Cheeye, publisher of Uganda Confidential
"There is now a renewed commitment to this African regional economic integration"
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